The Lorax and The Alpacas

You never know what will show up in my ‘hood. Sometimes what happens is magical.  Lately, it was a sign with a big black question mark perched on a rock at the corner of Arroyo and Canyon Acres. That was two months ago. And then it disappeared.

And then two weeks ago, the Lorax appeared on a tree stump not far from the first sign, a cheery two-foot tall greeter that faced Canyon Acres and  drivers entering Arroyo, his unsightly pole and duct-taped back invisible until you passed him.

On Saturday, two alpacas showed up in a make-shift pen on Chris’s vacant lot where he’s building a straw bale house. I was on my way to Susan’s for our Ladies of Arroyo potluck, when I learned that he’d taken in the two alpacas from a guy who had hoped to raise twelve of the animals for their valuable fleece, but it hadn’t worked out. Chris is always taking in animals other people don’t want—he’s that kind of guy. Luckily he’d found homes for these two at the Annaliese School up the canyon.

I made a detour and took these two shots. I don’t know if you can tell, but the brown one has a serious under-bite, very cute. Actually the expressions on their faces, so soft and sweet and vulnerable, melted my heart. Tearing myself away, I headed back toward the road and stopped. Instead of facing Canyon Acres like he was before, the Lorax now faced me and the alpacas. I swear. He obviously had to see what all the fuss was about. I took the photo below from my house the day the Lorax appeared on his stump. Proof that he’d shifted around to see the alpacas.

Old Post Resurrection Hop: Twilight

I’m re-posting this blog I wrote in December of last year as part of  Old-Post Resurrection Hop:

It’s twilight, I’m driving up Laguna Canyon Road to dinner with friends, and thinking about how much I love this time of day.  I sneak glimpses in my rear view mirror to catch the last glow from the setting sun behind me.  Ahead, the snow-dusted San Bernardino mountains are turning into a barely delineated dark hump in the gloaming.

And then like one of those scenes where the camera pans in, I notice the glimmer of lights in this one house to my right.  It’s not a particularly homey place or anything, yet, I’m filled with a sense of well being, of belonging; all that’s missing is the smell of freshly baked bread. This isn’t the first time this has happened.  But this is the first time I’ve given it any thought.   The last time I got snagged on the glow of lights in a random dwelling, was a single apartment in an otherwise dark building by the side of the freeway in Reno. I was on my way back from that writers workshop in Lake Tahoe. Again, nothing spectacular; in fact, the sight of that apartment would be downright depressing during the daytime.

 The time before that, that I can remember anyway, was seven years ago on a trip home to Africa, Zimbabwe this time.  Off to the side of a narrow dirt road at the base of a massive rock, sat a solitary hut, its scruffy thatch aglow from a flickering light inside.

This phenomenon is not about missing having someone waiting for me at home, or family all under one roof, that much I’ve figured out.  Who knows who lives in these places I glop onto, could be a single guy.  All I know is that when this sensation comes over me, I feel connected to whomever is inside that dwelling; it’s like we’re linked by the light.  And by twilight, that time of day when sunlight scattering in the upper atmosphere illuminates the lower in a most magical way.

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Rethinking Things

Fergie, you know, my Staffie, was up at 4:50AM this morning. Yesterday it was 5:05AM. It’s been this way since I got her. Killer. I’d given up early morning risings when I retired to write full time. And then along came Fergie. But it’s good for me, in a medicine-y way. It shifts things around, keeps me flexible, makes me rethink time. I hadn’t experienced the dawning of a Brand New Day before without the pressure of work hanging over it; even on vacation, which has its own pressures. I’m finding that these predawn hours are becoming magical again, like they were when I was a kid back in Africa, when I ran on nothing but imagination.